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A Standard With and By Which to Reference – A Review of the HIFIMAN SUNDARA

HiFiMAN provided Sundara free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

Sundara sells for $499
HiFiMAN on Amazon

When Mark over at HiFiMAN asked if I was interested in reviewing Sundara, my first thought was, “What the hell is Sundara?” But rather than seem ill-informed, I did some quick research. The first thing I learned was that it’s an update to the HE400, which I was never interested in. But then I started learning how it was different, with 80% thinner diaphragm, and all-around cutting edge technology and design. The more I read, the more excited I became.

Naturally, I told Mark “Yes”.

Sundara may be the best-built headphone I’ve ever tried. It’s sleek, comfortable, and tightly constructed. Nothing rattles or moves when you don’t wish it to. It holds firm to your head, but does not crush the skull. Sundara is wrought of strong aluminum and leather-like materials. I don’t know if it’s genuine leather, but there is unquestionable quality and elegance. The headband is flexible and textured, and the earpads possess remarkable softness. When you find the right slider setting, Sundara disappears from your conscious, allowing for hours upon hours of effortless listening.

Sundara utilizes planar magnetic drivers, a technology with which HiFiMAN has much experience. Their all-new diaphragm is called the NsD (NEO supernano Diaphragm), and is now as thin as 1 to 2 microns. What does all that mean? Outrageous transient speed and a breathtaking 6hz-75Khz frequency range. In other words, serious performance.

My one complaint is the cable. It has a bit too much attitude and doesn’t drape as flat as I’d like. Still, it’s far from the worst offender, and I don’t mind it terribly. Though, a balanced option would be nice.



Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


5 Responses

  1. Nice review! I have the Sundara and the SR1 too and can easily follow your listening results. These are really well made and outstanding sounding phones. And yes I also have no favorite between the two 😉

  2. You need to use the PT1 pads or other perforated pads on the SR1. Big difference as it is a more open sound and the bass is extremely good. Try some different pads is all I can say, regarding the SR1.

  3. lol. Well, theoretically, I could discover a new “best” with each review, if I happened to start at the bottom and work my way up. But that’s not very likely, is it? On the other hand, technology is ever progressing in this industry, and the latest releases do have very strong potential to out-perform previous generation gear.

    I try and be honest with my reviews. If the item I’m testing strikes me as better than other things in that price-range, I feel I must say so.

    I’ll give you a little spoiler: My next two reviews are the Aiva and SR1, which, as you know from reading this article, won’t be toppling Sundara in my eyes. 😉

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